Our Lady Star of the Sea

World Youth Day 2023





BCYS YOUTH MASS – Thursday 7th September, from 6pm at Brentwood Cathedral

Pizza & refreshments in the Brentwood Cathedral Parish Hall from 6pm, with a chance to catch up with those from pilgrimages this Summer or perhaps find out more if you are thinking about joining the BCYS Lourdes or World Youth Day Pilgrimages in the future. Youth Mass will be celebrated in the Cathedral at 7:30pm. Absolutely everyone is welcome, please bring instruments, and sing, serve or read if you wish! No need to book!


YOUTH MASS always takes places on the first Thursday of the month at Brentwood Cathedral, and coming up this term there is input from Charitable organisations in October, the fantastic David Wells speaking in November and an Advent Reconciliation service in December.


BCYS YEAR 13 RETREATS – Midweek, Weds 13th – Fri 15th September OR Weekend, Fri 22nd – Sun 24th September at Walsingham House at Abbotswick

You are made for a purpose. Going into year 13, you may be about to make big or tough decisions about your future, wonder what God may have planned for you or where to go next. This retreat is time to think, pray, chat with those in your year from across Essex and East London, and get a good focus for the future, right at the start of Year 13 and will take place in our beautiful Diocesan youth retreat house Walsingham House at Abbotswick, just outside Brentwood.  For just £35, the cost will include meals, accommodation and youth-led formation. Last few places are remaining so APPLY NOW AT   www.bcys.net/events/year13weekday/

BCYS YOUTH GATHER – Sat 21st – Sun 22nd October, at Essex Outdoors on Mersea Island

Open to absolutely anyone in year 9 and above, this is a weekend of outdoor activities (climbing, high ropes, archery, zip wire) as well as prayer, reflection and input from the amazing Adenike, who was a semi-finalist on “The Voice” (many will remember her from Flame in March!) There will be coaches picking up from 6 different locations around the Diocese, and this is included in the cost of the weekend, as well as all food, accommodation, 2 outdoor activities, workshops from Adenike and the SVP and so much more! 

This is always a popular event, so do ensure to apply for your place now at www.bcys.net/events/yg23


CATECHIST TRAINING AND RESOURCES DAY – Saturday 4th November at Sacred Heart of Mary Girls School in Upminster. This training and resources day is open to all First Holy Communion and Confirmation Catechists, as well as those who look after the children’s liturgy in the Diocese of Brentwood. It will be an opportunity to hear about fresh resources, as well as receiving input to assist you in your First Holy Communion and Confirmation programmes. A particular welcome is extended to any young catechists or young people (16+) who may be interested in working as or with catechists, and wish to develop their faith further post-confirmation

Reserve your place now awww.bcys.net/events/catechistday23/



This email from Father Dominic is coming from the coach – currently in the midst of France – on the final leg of the journey back from the World Youth Day in Lisbon. 46 young adults from the Diocese have had a profound and memorable fortnight, full of deep and significant graces. Those of you with young people in your parish, or secondary school, who have attended World Youth Day, will undoubtedly hear their stories in the days and weeks ahead. Thank you for the support you have given them; they have regularly mentioned you in prayer. 


Already, the Diocese is featured within an article on The Tablet  website: https://www.thetablet.co.uk/news/17464





On Sunday BBC Radio 4 have a special Sunday Worship featuring music and interviews from WYD. It begins at 08.10 and includes an interview from our very own Fr Paschal Uche, who travelled with the BCYS. Fr Anthony Cho was also with us – his third World Youth Day. We were very blessed to have Bishop Alan as a pilgrim walking with us for the second week of the trip; many thanks to him for his presence and kindness. Above all our young adult leaders deserve special mention; WYD is rigorous, and they have been absolutely magnificent; we are blessed with immensely gifted young leaders in the Diocese.


Attached here are 25 short quotes that catch the essence of the Papal Messages, Speeches and Homilies from the week, Hopefully this will be a helpful resource for Confirmation catechists and others working with young people. The full messages are well worth reading, and the link to all of them is: https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/travels/2023/



As well as the WYD messages, when the Pope spoke to Civil Representatives he offered a vision for Europe that is profound and challenging; that alone is worth spending time with, and bringing to prayer.https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/




The pilgrimage included time in Porto, Fatima and Lisbon; there will be a fuller write-up on the Diocesan website soon. There are already many photos and snippets on the Brentwood Catholic Youth Service Instagram and Facebook pages; please direct parishioners to @brentwoodcys. 


You may already have heard that there will be an International Gathering for young people as part of the Jubilee Year, 2025, with provisional dates of 28/7 – 3/8. There is also a Flame Congress in that year – March 15th 2025. The next World Youth Day is in Seoul, South Korea, in 2027. These dates are far off but come quickly; please continue to do all you can to encourage young people to follow the BCYS on social media, for regular updates and the opportunity to be involved – everyone is welcome! A reminder that we have the immensely impressive young singer and Catholic witness, Adenike, at the Youth Gather, Mersea Island, in October.


For now, please keep the young World Youth Day pilgrims in prayer; there is an exciting sense of hope, faith, joy and energy within this group, that we can truly pray will bear deep fruit for their schools, parishes and the wider Diocese in the weeks, months and years ahead, as well as in their own lives. Or, as the Pope said to them, “God’s heart beats uniquely for you … The Church needs you, and the world needs you, the young, as much as the earth needs rain.”


With many blessings

Fr Dominic

Words from Pope Francis – the 25 top quotes from WYD2023 on one sheet From the Welcoming Ceremony

  •   You are not here by accident. The Lord has called you by name. Try to imagine these three words – called by name - written in large letters. Then consider that they were written within you, on your hearts, as if setting the direction of your lives, the meaning of who you are: you have been called by name.

  •   God calls us each day in order to embrace and encourage us, to make of us a unique and original masterpiece. Each of us is an “original”, whose beauty we can only begin to glimpse.

  •   God’s heart beats uniquely for you.

  •  Young men and women, we are loved the way we are, without makeup. Do you understand that?

  •   For God none of us is a number, but a face and a heart.

  •   How many wolves hide behind smiles of false goodness, saying that they know you, though they do not love you. They insist that they believe in you and promise that you will become someone, but then abandon you when you no longer matter to them. Let me tell you: Jesus is not like that. He trusts you, each of you, each of us, because each of us matters to him. That is how Jesus is.

  •   Friends, I want to be clear with you, for you are allergic to falsity and empty words: in the Church, there is room for everyone. Everyone. In the Church, no one is left out or left over. There is room for everyone. Just the way we are. Everyone.

  •   The Lord does not point a finger, but opens his arms. It is odd: the Lord does not know how to do this (pointing), but that (opening wide). He embraces us all.

  •   Don’t ever stop asking questions, because that is good; it is better, often, than giving answers, because asking questions is a sign of restlessless, and restlessness is the best remedy for mere routine, for sometimes routine can dull the soul.

  •  As life goes on, those questions get answered; we just have to wait for them. Here is something interesting: God loves surprises. He is not a search engine; his love is always surprising. He loves to surprise. He always keeps us alert and he keeps us surprised.

    From the Stations of the Cross

  •   When he was among us, Jesus walked. He walked along healing the sick, caring for the poor, doing works of justice. As he walked he preached and taught. Jesus walked. But the journey most engraved on our hearts is the way of Calvary, the way of the Cross.

  •   Jesus’ journey is this: God going out of himself in order to walk by our side.

  •   Now I will ask you a question, but please do not answer out loud; each of you answer within yourself. Do you sometimes weep? Jesus dries our hidden tears with his tenderness. Jesus wishes to relieve our loneliness with his closeness. Moments of loneliness are sad indeed, yet Jesus is there; he wants to relieve that loneliness. Jesus wishes to calm our fears, your fears, my fears. He also desires to encourage us to embrace the risk of loving.

    From the Rosary with ill young people, in Fatima

 This Chapel of the Apparitions is a beautiful image of the Church: welcoming and without doors. Indeed, the Church has no doors in order that everyone may enter. Here, in this place, we must insist that everyone can enter, because this is the Mother’s house, and a mother’s heart is always open to all her children, everyone, everyone, everyone, excluding no one.

  •   Mary has many titles, but we can think of another that we could add to them: “Our Lady who runs”, every time there is a problem; whenever we seek her aid, she does not delay, she comes to us, she hastens.

  •   Today, I would like us to look at the image of Mary, and ask ourselves, “What is Mary saying to me as Mother? What is she showing me?” She is directing us to Jesus; yet, sometimes, she also shows us aspects of our lives that are not going so well, but she always directs us to Jesus.

    From the Vigil of Prayer

  •   Mary does something that was not asked of her, and that she did not have to do. Mary goes (to Elizabeth) because she loved, and “whoever loves flies, runs and rejoices” (The Imitation of Christ, III, 5). That is what love does to us.

  •   This is interesting: instead of thinking about herself, she thinks of the other. Why? Because joy is missionary, joy is not just for one person, it is for sharing something with others.

  •   Yet, this joy we have, others have helped us to receive it. Let us look back, then, at all we have received, for it has prepared our hearts for joy. Each of us, if we cast our minds back, can recall those who have been rays of light in our lives: parents, grandparents, friends, priests, religious men and women, catechists, youth leaders, teachers, and so on. They are the “roots” of our joy.

  •   “In the art of climbing the mountain, what matters isn’t not to fall, but not to remain fallen”. This is beautiful! When we need to lift someone up, or help them, do you notice how we are to do it? We look down on them. That is the only time, the only time that we are allowed to look down upon others, when we are offering to help them up. Yet, we often see people looking down on us, or over our shoulder, from above! How sad. Instead, the only way, the only situation in which it is permissible to look down on others is... well, you tell me, out loud: to help them up.

  •  I am not sure if any of you like football... I do! Think of how much training is needed in order to score a goal; how much effort is required to achieve a certain result. And if we fall, we get back up, or someone will help us get back up; let us not remain fallen; and let us train ourselves, train in order keep moving forward. All this is possible, not because we take a course on walking – there are no courses that can teach us how to journey in life – instead we learn, we learn from our parents, our grandparents, we learn from friends, giving each other a helping hand. We learn about life, and that trains us in how to journey onwards.

    From the Final Mass – with 1,500,000 people

  •   After these exciting days, surely we feel like repeating the words of the Apostle Peter on the mount of theTransfiguration: “Lord, it is good for us to be here!” Now, we can also ask an important question: What will we take back with us as we resume our daily lives? I would like to answer this question with three verbs: to shine, to listen, and to be unafraid.

  •   Friends, I am telling you the truth: whenever you do works of love, you become light.

  •   To listen to Jesus, that is life’s secret. Listen to what Jesus is saying to you. “But I don’t know what he is saying to me”. Well, take the Gospels and read there what Jesus is saying, what he is saying to your heart. ... He shows us the way of love.

  •   As young people, you have great dreams. the Church and the world need you, the young, as much as the earth needs rain. To all of you, dear young people, who are the present and the future, yes to all of you, Jesus now says: “Have no fear”, “Do not be afraid!”

  •   I will tell you something else, also very beautiful: it is no longer I, but Jesus himself who is now looking at you. He knows each of your hearts, each of your lives; he knows your joys, your sorrows, your successes and failures. He knows your heart. Today, he says to you, here in Lisbon, at this World Youth Day: “Have no fear, take heart, do not be afraid!”

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